The Worcester Area Mission Society (WAMSworks) was created in the early 1800s by Congregational Church deacon and industrialist Ichabod Washburn to provide religious and benevolent services for the immigrants who came to Worcester to build the Blackstone Canal and stayed to build the railroad. He erected a mission chapel on Summer Street where workingmen could worship without having to pay for their pews, and he operated a successful industrial school for youth that later in life, inspired his gift to WPI.

In setting up the industrial school he wrote about his desire to unite moral and intellectual training as a way of providing a pathway for those seeking personal independence and happiness to also become better and more useful citizens, as he had himself been offered as an apprentice in a Leicester, Massachusetts blacksmith shop at the age of 16.

Core Values

In the 150 years since its creation WAMSworks has continued as a faith based organization guided by a “moral compass” to reach across racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic lines to promote liberty, equality, and opportunity for all. We take seriously our core value of inclusion and we strive to be welcoming especially to individuals and communities that have been historically marginalized and excluded.

Guiding Principles

Morality can not be exclusive to any one set of “believers” or “non-believers”

Our world today is far too complex to be satisfied with programs that promote social conformity

True morality requires the dismantling of human made systems of oppression that assign people different values based on arbitrary characteristics over which they have no individual control

A just world will only be realized through the full inclusion of communities that have been historically marginalized and excluded

All people are equal and deserve basic dignity, freedom, political rights, and economic opportunities in life